Description: English language learners (ELLs) face many linguistic and cultural challenges in their attempts to succeed academically. They encounter complex academic text, which is increasingly presented online. Although some research has addressed the challenges that university-level ELLs face when reading online texts, almost all of this prior work has focused on undergraduates. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the reading strategies employed by graduate-level ELLs when reading an academic English text online. Participating in the study were four foreign-born doctoral students from different first-language backgrounds—Arabic, Korean, Urdu, and Vietnamese—and the focus was on commonalities as well as differences among them. All four were enrolled in the same doctoral-level course, which included the reading of a specific online academic article as a course requirement. When reading this text individually, each student participated in a think-aloud procedure, followed by post-reading and discourse-based interviews. Analyses included unitizing data from the think-aloud protocols, coding units for strategies employed, and considering related interview commentary and classroom contributions. In their reading, these students made major use of problem-solving strategies, especially reading segments aloud and questioning. They also employed evaluative strategies as well as metacognitive strategies, which included affirming their understanding or indicating lack of understanding. With respect to global strategies, all made use of the article’s abstract and used the cursor to scroll forward to preview the article. In contrast to previous research with undergraduates, these students made little use of support strategies that involved translation websites. Instead, their major support strategies were navigating to web-based tools, particularly online encyclopedias in English. Despite prior theory and research suggesting the importance of sociorhetorical strategies in academic reading, only one student directed much attention to the authors of the article and to authorial intent. Although all four participants were students in the same doctoral course and ...
Date: May 2015
Creator: Knezek, Lois Ann
Item Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Partner: UNT Libraries